Saturday, November 4, 2017

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, November 4

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch

Here is the best map depiction of control on the ground in Iraq and Syria as ISIS is being expelled.
President Trump will visit five Asian nations in the next two weeks: China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines. These are the surrounding nations of the East and South China Sea. Here is a map and summary of the dispute there. The willingness of the United States to allow China its sphere of influence in East Asia is the backdrop of the Korean conflict and one of the most important strategic questions of American foreign policy. After World War Two, the nations of Europe developed(or had imposed) two competing federations at the expense of national identities. That is now being reformulated. The Asian countries took a very different direction which Henry Kissinger emphasized in his books on China and World Order. They developed very strong nation states within which different versions of markets have emerged. The model for this was Singapore led by possibly the most important international relations thinker of the 20th century: Lee Kuan Yew. Even if the Communist Party remains as their administrative apparatus, it is a combination of nationalism and free markets that dominates in both China and Vietnam. Religion is a missing or submerged element as these countries search for their national souls ( see the Mystical Body of Japan and Finding the Elder Brother in China)  President Trump will find in the Asian nationalists (especially Xi Jinping of China, Abe of Japan, and Duterte of the Philippines) more kindred spirits than the female leaders of Germany and Sweden singing their diversity songs of the weakening atheist white west. President Trump will relate much better to Asian strong men than western eunuchs. Territorial nationalism is not a code word for racism-it is the communal form of historical maturation for humanity. Christianity has beget most of the nations and will baptize many others. President Trump is an enigma to the educated elites of America's East and West Coasts but he rides the crests of history and nature in the Pacific.          


RETHINKING EUROPE: At the Vatican, a conference is planned.   Let us hope the Vatican planners of that conference listen to this group of thinkers who offer a compelling vision of Europe based on Christianity, the nations, and marriage.  The Paris Statement - A Europe we Can Believe In. This cultural battle to determine the basis of public social life should not be reduced to an argument of pagan nationalists vs. atheist bureaucrats. The banner of the nation should be flown by Christians who see the political form of the nation within the ecclesial matrix of Christianity. This is the true genius of Christian Europe. They were real nations communicating (and often warring) within a larger shared culture. Christian Europe is not the Enlightenment's prodigy. Christian Europe is much older than the Enlightenment project.  The Modern West which bequeathed the Darwinism of Hitler, the scientific atheism of the Soviet Union and the atheistic sexual revolution of our present era is a tired and dying project. A Christian Europe of nations could play a huge role in harmonizing the emerging nations of global Christianity. A Christian Europe has a place for Orthodox Russia. It has as much a role for Hungary as Denmark. But a Europe with no God and no nations will find itself (as the Marxists used to say) in the dustbin of history. It is a significant problem that many of the Catholic intellectuals around the Vatican are neither exuberant in their defense of Christian nations nor steadfast in their insistence on the ordering principle of heterosexuality. These deficits are related. Cardinal Sarah is a notable exception to the usual bromides. We should also note while Pope Francis doesn't agree with Cardinal Sarah about centralizing liturgical translations, the two men are much more in agreement about the demonic nature of gender ideology and the colonizing hyper individualism of the rich North against traditional mores in the global South.

Cardinal Sarah on Europe. From his talk in Poland:
“The ideology of liberal individualism promotes a mixing that is designed to erode the natural borders of homelands and cultures, and leads to a post-national and one-dimensional world where the only things that matter are consumption and production.” Cardinal Sarah said that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when many nations regained their freedom and democracy, it seemed that a new, positive period had begun for Europe. However, the European Union decided not to revert to the continent’s Christian roots, but instead began to build its institutions on abstractions such as the free market, equality of individuals, and individualist human rights. That was a mistake, Cardinal Sarah said, because all laws should be based on the concept of human dignity, which can only come from God.
VATICAN AND THE NATIONS: Recognizing Palestine. There seems to be a deep confusion in the Vatican about the authority of nation states - except for the one that doesn't really exist. Nations are real spiritual organisms. They are not "imagined communities." Italy is a real nation though it took the Vatican a long time to recognize it. Israel is a real nation and the Vatican as a state was slow to that recognition. Palestine is not a nation but it is "recognized". Let us say this crucial biblical category of the nation has not been a strong suit over this last  century for Vatican diplomats.  Many Vatican intellectuals are arguing against the legitimate authority of the State in both the exercise of war and capital punishment. There has been little support for a deeper more fraternal understanding of national communities. This lack of a communal defense of the polity and nation is a huge defect in Catholic intellectual life. It is deeply related to the inability of most clerics to defend the patriarchal fraternity of the episcopacy/priesthood as the foundation stones of the Apostolic Church.

LITURGY AND AUTHORITY: A Catholic discussion of liturgical reform and modern man from  Dom Alcuin Reid.

THE LUTHERANS REACHED OUT TO THE ORTHODOX: Luther and the Reformation. Several books reviewed at Claremont by Algis Valiunis An interesting story of a dialogue between Lutherans and Orthodox early in the Reformation.

LITURGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY: Body, Soul and Spirit - essay by David Clayton at his very beautiful site Claritas: The Journal for Catholic Culture and Arts.

FIVE STRATEGIES IN EVANGELIZATION: Bishop Robert Barron gives First Things magazine annual Erasmus Lecture. His five strategies in evangelization: A) Lead with Beauty (the third transcendental with The Good and The True) B) Don't dumb down Christianity and don't think kids can't handle substance. Answer scientism with religion. Most "nones" believe that science has disproved religion. The development of the sciences occurs in the context of religion which renders the material world as something to be studied and mastered not worshiped. The Intelligent Creator is to be worshiped. The world is intelligible but not to be worshiped. C)Tell the Good News in terms of the Biblical story from Adam the Priest and King through Israel - the chosen people - to the fulfillment in the Priest-King Jesus. Priest, liturgy, temple and mission from Adam through the chosen People to Christ and the Eucharist. D) A proper theology of God is the Burning Bush--not one being among all beings. Do not be univocal in talking about God. (This is the one part of the talk I didn't understand. It seemed a perfect place to return to the Fatherhood of God and the filial priesthood of Jesus and his apostolic church. Sexual clarity(using masculine and feminine terminology) has never been a strong part of the Bishop Baron arsenal). Finally E) Be charitable, be a witness of love and mercy, they shall know us by our love. A terrific talk - there are no hints here of retreat or insecurity or being in a post Christian age. There are a lot of young unbelievers to teach and the Bishop has given a good blueprint to teach them.


THE WAR AGAINST SYRIA: Qatar starts telling what really happened. They admit they were part of "terrorism" against Assad but remind us that they were accompanied by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Is it the Shiites or Saudi salafists who are the real sponsors of terrorism. We asked this in 2015.


SAUDI PRINCE SAYS HE WILL RETURN SAUDI ARABIA TO MODERATE ISLAM: "30 years ago we reacted to Iranian revolution and didn't know what to do." This is a stunning rewrite of Islamic history. The crucial event in 1979 for Saudi Arabia was not the Iranian revolution but the Salafist take over of Mecca. Mohammed bin Salman has more Shiite blood on his hands than any three Saudi rulers in these previous thirty years. Will the religiously illiterate journalists allow this story to be so told? Our take.

We are fighting the wrong forces in Yemen. 
A geographical and historical background of Yemen.


THE CLINTONS URANIUM AND RUSSIA: This is an early New York Times story from April 2015. It is all here but... during the election of 2016 this excellent reporting had no legs. There may be enough Democrats and mainstream media reporters who want to see the Clintons go away that this particular tale of collusion will gain some traction. The details of this story do not lead to "selling 20% our uranium" as much as crony capitalism between the Clintons and rich donors.

JOHN MCCAIN AND THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Andrew Bacevich dissects the NY Times columns offered by these two men both "going off the deep end" about the Trump presidency.

NEOCONS AND DNC AFTER THE PRESIDENT: The dossier on Trump and origins of the Trump Russia collusion story. They all want to get him. William Kristol of the Weekly Standard founded the journal of his son-in-law Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon. They are the originators of the dossier against Donald Trump later picked up by the much larger cash cows of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's opposition research team. The "Never Trump" neocons felt Trump was not interventionist enough in foreign policy and opposed him from the beginning 'from the right.". They are at the center of the secular Jewish wing of neoconservatives who came from the incestuous world of East Coast Jewish atheist intellectuals involved with leftist organizations until their "move to the right." Weekly Standard writers are regulars on Fox News opinion shows and have not emphasized this aspect of the dossier. Fusion GPS - the dossier and links to mainstream media.


HOLLYWOOD HASN'T REALLY TOLD ITS STORY YET ON THE ABUSE OF YOUNG MALES: Kevin Spacey, the homosexual Hollywood predator network and the eerie resemblance to the Catholic clergy: a good bit of linkage by Rod Dreher. AoA on the crimes of the sexual left from Weinstein to Jesuit James Martin.

OLD WHITE RICH MALES TRIED TO PULL A HARVEY WEINSTEIN: How the NFL publicity machine tried to re-brand America's most masculine sport as a champion of feminism is a depressing tale. First came the charges against the NFL the May 30, 2014 indictment as white male sanctuary. Here is a typical indictment from the sexual left. This was coupled with the general pacifist/health war against violence and head injuries in a physical contact sport. In 2014, NOW asked for football Commissioner Roger Goodall to resign. He responded with pathetic parade of players and public service announcements promising we are all feminists now. Rest assured that the most stunning acts of domestic violence in our culture - abortions - will not come under attack as Roger plays his Weinstein card by dressing up his players in pink. Maybe a guy could take a knee from that charade. The deepest sign of masculine civic brotherhood is the flag of one's country. Taking a knee in football of course is not genuflecting in a Catholic Church. It is a sign of disassociating from engagement, not reverence. The flag story continues. But certainly the hypersensitive kowtowing to feminism and the spiritual blindness to the flag as a sign of interracial brotherhood are related.

IT'S NOT GAY AND ITS NOT MARRIAGE: Dale Ahlquist and G.K. Chesterton show us the problem when a "perversion becomes a commonplace."

WHY NOTHING IS SACRED: John Horvat explains why the horrible flatness of modernity will not suffice

TALK TO YOUR FATHER: Anthony Esolen writes about young men and three loves. At AOA we think the male-male bond of Father and Son and brothers is more foundational than Mr. Esolen but our quarrel is one among brothers.

THINKING CLEARLY: A great interview by Rod Dreher with Baylor's Allan Jacobs on his little book about thinking clearly. Among many insights is a C.S. Lewis distinction between the inner circle and meaningful community.

JOHN BOEHNER - A PORTRAIT: An interesting interview with the ex-Speaker of the House teaching a lot about the governing class. One observation about his predecessor Denny Hastert, homosexual predator who was also a former Republican Speaker of the House: “Denny Hastert was the nicest guy,” Boehner says. “But you know what? His wife never came to D.C.” Did they ever notice anything unusual, I ask? “Only his staff,” Boehner tells me. “He had more gay staff than anybody I knew—at a time when it was a bit unusual.” He pauses. “OK, fine. I didn’t care. But when all this stuff broke a couple years ago, it took my breath away.”

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